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The battle for hegemony in the Middle East

By Einat Wilf

The story of the Middle East for decades to come is of a battle for the hegemony of Sunni Islam, especially in the Arab world, and of the efforts by non-Sunni Muslims and non-Muslims to ensure that no dominant Sunni power capable of uniting the Sunni Arab world, and ultimately the Sunni world more broadly, emerges.

Should a united Sunni Arab polity emerge, especially if it unites under the banner of the more extreme interpretations of Islam, it could constitute an existential threat to the non-Sunni, non-Arab and non-Muslim minorities of the Middle East.

Ultimately, Australia and other Western countries have to come to terms with their limited role in shaping the outcomes of the battle for hegemony in the Arab Middle East. This doesn’t mean that there’s nothing to be done, but those outside the region must clinically and dispassionately consider their interests in the region and what they can reasonably expect to achieve.